5 Tips for Gaming During the Summer and Avoiding Frustration
Hello folks. Your friendly neighborhood nerd here with some thoughts and tips for gaming during the summer. When you start a Dungeons & Dragons or other RPG you don’t always have a concept for timeline. The length of a game or availability to play can change drastically depending on players, work, school, or other things that could affect play. I’m here with 5 tips to help you with avoiding frustration that can come with gaming during the summer.
Gaming during the summer
During winter, fall, and spring gaming it’s fine to be playing in a smaller room that maybe shouldn’t have 7 people crammed into it rolling dice. As summer comes…7 people in a tiny room rolling dice…all bad folks. All. Bad. As the temperatures rise, the heat in that tiny room will quadruple. Make sure when gaming during the summer to have an open room with air flow. This will help keep your gamers cool and tempers calm. Nothing is worse than a player getting too hot and flipping the table. Also, I recommend against gaming outside. It may seem like a great idea, but this is how, dice, minis, books, characters, and sometimes players get lost. This is especially dangerous if there is a nice deck and barbecue. I remember when Bill’s character failed a Dexterity check as the wind blew the character sheet into the barbecue and hamburgers. I sure do miss that cleric.
I know as a Game Master I hate interrupting the flow of a story. However during the summer, attention spans are often lower than normal. Avoiding frustration means taking that extra break, letting your players stretch, getting that extra cold drink or snack. Let someone make a quick run to the ice cream shop, encourage GM bribes and let them know some rocky road ice cream could mean a conveniently placed potion of healing or three. It might interrupt your story flow a bit, but it will do so a lot less than a bored player who’s daydreaming about sunshine.
Normally I wouldn’t bring this up, and this is mostly for the adults. Younger GM’s you can just skip this one. During the summer, because of the heat it’s more tempting to reach for that nice cold beer. Try not to let that get out of hand. Once you players start getting rowdier than normal, it’s best to just call the game and socialize. If you notice there are now more empties than minis on the table, it’s time to call it a night.
A lot of time people like to game on the weekend. It’s easier to manage time-wise and less stress. Many groups I know start early afternoon and end late evening. However, as the summer arrives many players will show up late with the line, “Sorry, we were at the beach.” Beaches are great for everything except gaming during the summer. Trying to find that fallen d4 in the sand is the geek equivalent of looking for a landmine you misplaced. If you run your games in the evening, it’s cooler, more relaxed, and people have already been out enjoying the sun. Another option is to have people over for a barbecue first then move into gaming after. That said, make sure to move away from the barbecue and drinks before starting up your game or it will end as quick as you start it.
Relax and enjoy
It’s easier to get distracted during the summer. Just take it in stride and relax. Remember, RPG’s have a huge social aspect and it is a game. When the game starts getting derailed and you can’t bring it back, don’t. Just relax and take part in the banter. Your boss will be there next week, it’s all good. For the younger GM’s who are still in school, if you find your players showing up less or making more excuses try not to get frustrated. It’s summer break, a time of freedom. Sometimes it’s okay to put the books down and go enjoy a carnival, or fair.
Remember folks, the main rule of playing an RPG, Dungeons & Dragons or other, is to have fun. It’s really the only rule. Think of it like Whose Line Is It Anyway — the rules are made up and levels don’t matter. Have fun, and if the group doesn’t seem to be into the game but likes hanging out, that’s when you admit you’re beaten and enjoy the company and summer. Start the BBQ back up, make some snacks, grab a cool beverage and relax. Enjoy the summer folks, it looks like it’ll be a warm one. Stay nerdy folks, cheers.
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